Thursday, May 20, 2010

The great flux away from Rome toward Protestantism

In the comments of the William Whitaker thread, just below here, Truth Unites… and Divides, asked:


Q: What's the highest ranking RC clergy in history (and in recent times, say the last 100 years) to ever convert to Protestantism? Has an RC bishop ever done so?


I don't know the answer to that specific question. I also know that James Swan, our esteemed host, is not a fan of conversion stories (his theory is, "if you want to tell a story, tell Christ's story.") We know, too, that throughout the history of the papacy, very many popes were so very foul that it would have been a travesty to have suggested that they were in any way Christian.


But as for which way the tide is going today, a former Catholic-turned-Presbyterian named Dudley Davis posted this account a while back at PuritanBoard:

There is in truth a great flux away from the Roman catholic church to Protestantism in the United states. 30 million people now in the US define themselves as ex roman catholics; half are unafililiated with no church and 15 million like me are now Protestants. The following are the current statistics from the pew Forum on Religion in The United States...

Catholicism has suffered the greatest net loss in the process of religious change. Many people who leave the Catholic Church do so for religious reasons; two-thirds of former Catholics who have become unaffiliated say they left the Catholic faith because they stopped believing in its teachings, as do half of former Catholics who are now Protestant. Fewer than three-in-ten former Catholics, however, say the clergy sexual abuse scandal factored into their decision to leave Catholicism.


One-in-ten American adults is a former Catholic. Former Catholics are about evenly divided between those who have become unaffiliated and those who have become Protestant,… The reasons for leaving Catholicism given by former Catholics who have converted to evangelical Protestantism differ in some important ways from those offered by former Catholics who have joined mainline Protestant churches. Most former Catholics who are now evangelical Protestants, for example, say they left Catholicism in part because they stopped believing in Catholic teachings (62%) and specifically because they were unhappy with Catholic teachings about the Bible (55%). …


However the same survey also shows that a majority of those raised protestant are still Protestant. Eight-in-ten adults who were raised Protestant are still Protestant, and about two-thirds of this group (or 52% of all those raised Protestant) are still members of the same family of denominations (e.g. Baptist, Methodist, Lutheran, etc.) in which they were raised. The other third (28% of all those raised Protestant) are now members of a new family of Protestant denominations. However, one-fifth of those raised Protestant have left Protestantism altogether; most of them are now unaffiliated (13%), with smaller numbers having become Catholic (3%) or members of other faiths (4%)….


The numbers of Protestants having become Catholic is only (3%).

Original source



28 comments:

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

Here's a comment from commenter Sherry Weddell from Catholic apologist Amy Welborn's blogpost on the Pew Study:

"I know this is going to sound wild but we know that for every evangelical who becomes Catholic, roughly eight Catholics become evangelicals. What if those 8 Catholics left us because they actually wanted and needed what evangelicals do very well and we do rather poorly?

What if they don’t actually care much about liturgy? One could draw the conclusion with some confidence since they have moved in a strongly non-liturgical direction. What if they don’t care much or at all for history or Gregorian chant or high culture or fine doctrinal debates that mean so much to us?

What if they were looking for something else that is genuine part of the Christian faith and life but which we don’t do as well. A Christian community that was small enough to actually know who they were and would notice when they showed up – a stranger. What if they desperately needed to experience the transforming power of God in their life or their family’s life? What if they love and find profoundly reverent and moving worship that is full of emotion and movement and spontaneity? What if they needed to be supported and formed by a local community marked by a genuine culture of discipleship?

In other words, what if they really, really were seeking and hungering to encounter God in a way that evangelicals excel at and we do poorly? What if the most beautiful and reverent formal liturgy in the world (as we think of it) just leaves them puzzled or cold?

While it is natural that we keep talking about doing even more of what moves us (who are here and frequenting conservative Catholic blogs) of what drew many of us to the Church – what if it is irrelevant to those who left us?"

Another commenter's response:

"How many of us on this thread have family members who have left the Catholic Church? Have we ever asked them why they left?

In my own case, my family left the Catholic Church in the late 60′s in the wake of Vatican II. It wasn’t because the Mass was in English or because the priest was facing the people instead of the altar, though. My grandmother had been divorced, and felt alienated from the Catholic Church. She found welcome in the local Assembly of God church, where she had a conversion experience that changed her life. My mother later had a similar conversion experience, and eventually joined my grandmother’s church.

It was in the charismatic/pentecostal churches that I first encountered Christ as a young child. Later, though, my mother enrolled me in the local parochial school which was my first exposure to the Catholic faith. The beauty and quiet dignity of the Mass (yes, even the Novus Ordo) drew me in, as I could sense the contrast with the more exhuberant services I normally attended. Once exposed to the Eucharist, I began to have a hunger and longing for it. As I was interested in history, the unchanging aspects of the Mass were a powerful draw to me as well."

"My point here is that people often leave the Church for sociological reasons, such as divorce/remarriage, as well as for more spiritual reasons – a deep conversion experience in an evangelical church. Often they begin to attend other churches because someone invites them (I could be wrong, but I don’t think many cradle Catholics wander into a Baptist church entirely on their own!).

For their part, evangelicals know what they believe and why it matters, and they are motivated by a sincere concern for the souls and well-being of those they seek to evangelize. They truly want to share the “Good News” that has made such an impact on their lives, and they want to share this out of charity. We can learn much from this."

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

Yet another commenter:

"I left the Catholic church because it was full of Catholics like me. Born Catholic, raised Catholic, educated Catholic.

Never in 18 years was there a choice involved for me. I did what mom, dad, and grandparents had always done.

So at 18, I thought it would be a good idea to experiment. I stopped acting Catholic and did as I pleased. The result- not so great, so I turned back to faith, but not the Catholic faith.

What I found was an Evangelical church where every one of the thousands of members had freely chosen to participate. Everyone in the church is a first generation church member. Most everyone is excited to be there several times a week. Many give a full 10% of their income to the church, which has allowed the ministry to grow exponentially.

Theologically, the differences between my church and the Catholic church are not that significant. What’s different is the attitude and approach of the congregants. At my church, they are sold out to Christ, in the Catholic Church of my youth, my perception was that 80% were insincere like I was and just there to get their “ticket punched”."

And someone else:

"And this isn’t about me anyway.

It is about listening to what 15 million US Catholics are telling us when they leave for the evangelical world. They aren’t there *accidently* nor did they leave us *accidently*. They had reasons and did it deliberately. If we hope to change their minds, we need to find out what those reasons were and ask ourselves how we address them better.

Unless, of course, we really don’t want them back and we’re just ducky with the 8:1 ratio."

John said...

When I look at the statistics here, the only winner I see is "no religion".

Catholic down 1.1%.
Baptist down 3.5%
Mainline down 5.8%
Christian Gen. down .6%
Pentacostal up .3%
Other Prot. up .5%
Jewish down .6%
No religion up 6.8%
Won't say up 2.9%.

John Bugay said...

Truth, thanks for rounding that out with some flesh and blood stories. I do want to make one comment on one of your commenters: "Theologically, the differences between my church and the Catholic church are not that significant."

Well, theologically, I think, the differences are very significant. There are some who seek to minimize the differences, in a way that hide the true meanings of things on both sides. That's not the right way to do things.


John: When I look at the statistics here, the only winner I see is "no religion".

You're probably right in this regard. But I don't think that is a reason to give up.

My efforts here are (Lord willing) going to revolve around helping Protestants to understand their heritage, while looking to the very real possibility of seeing the Reformation as a focal point for increased understanding of both Christian and secular history and issues, and devotion to the Lord who gave the Reformers the courage to seek a closer walk with HIm in His Word.

Carrie said...

When I think about it, the question doesn't really make sense or matter much. A Catholic becoming Protestant is no different than a Hindu becoming Protestant. In the end what you hopefully have is a sinner becoming a true believer.

That's not to say there are not true believers who are Catholic but just confused, but Catholicism is not the lesser alternative here.

John Bugay said...

Hi Carrie -- I'm not quite sure what you mean when you say "Catholicism is not the lesser alternative here".

bkaycee said...

I left the Catholic Church because a part time baptist pastor shared the Saving Gospel of Grace and I was born again when I believed in the substitutionary atonement of Christ thru Faith alone.

My life was suddenly changed from the inside out. I WANTED to read Gods Word, I LOVED all the other Christians and WANTED to hang out with them. I WANTED to tell all about the Love of the Savior and the FREE GIFT of Salvation.

The RCC does not preach a saving Gospel and I was around for 12 years of Catholic school to know.

That is why I left.

Carrie said...

Hi Carrie -- I'm not quite sure what you mean when you say "Catholicism is not the lesser alternative here".

Sorry, I wasn't quite sure how to say that and obviously it shows.

Coming from some people, this type of question almost implies that Catholicism is a legitimate denomination. That a Catholic confession of faith is flawed, but orthodox enough to believe that a large majority of Catholics are in fact true believers. So when we see a conversion of Catholic to Protestant it's like the Catholic just cleaned up his orthodoxy and realized the flaws of Catholicism.

But all the believers I know who are former Catholics were simply converts from darkness to light. Yes, we can go back and evaluate some similarities b/w our old and new beliefs but in the end we were just brought to true faith like any other person. The background we come from is only important in our own minds.

Does that make more sense? Probably not, I'm having trouble expressing this. Sorry.

Pastor Aaron said...

I come from a nominally Catholic family, went to parochial school occasionally. RCC was all I knew as "church." In spite of many Catholic influences, some of them sincere and strong--grandfather, a distant cousin who was especially nearby when I came to faith in Christ, it was the Jesus I encountered in Scripture who saved me. By grace, through faith.

My church recently received into membership a young Catholic fellow who left because he did not get to know Jesus there. From my perspective, and his, so much is bound up in the ritual of the mass, it is hard to know what they teach or believe. When I talk to Catholic friends who do "get something" from it, it's because they have found an interpretive lens of scripture, theology and perhaps art appreciation, that allows them to follow along, a sort of explication de texte...

At the end of the day, I appreciate what was mentioned about James' position that we should tell Jesus' story, not so much our conversion. Works every time.

There is an effort in the RCC and EOx movements to "convert" Protestants, esp pastors. Invariably, it's about an institution, not Jesus.

scotju said...

This "great flux away from Rome toward Protestantism" post doesn't impress me. The late Michael Spencer aka The Internet Monk, had a posting on his same name website called "The Coming Evangelical Collapse". In part one of his "Collapse' series, he predicts that evangelicalism is headed toward a great implosion. So what are all these former Catholics headed to? A religious structure that will go boom and become irrelevant by 2050. Interestingly enough, he predicts the Catholics and Orthodox will have growth from dissafected Protestants in the coming years. So the Ddley Davis post is just wishfull thinking by an ex-Catholic.

John Bugay said...

Carrie -- I think I get what you mean. Something like this, from Reymond's “A New Systematic Theology of the Christian Faith,” pg 818:

Rome’s exegesis of Matthew 16 and its historically developed claim to authoritative primacy in the Christian world simply cannot be demonstrated and sustained from Scripture itself. This claim is surely one of the great hoaxes foisted upon professing Christendom, upon which false base rests the whole papal sacerdotal system.

You're just too kind to say things like this. :-)

And maybe this (which I've pirated):

"The Reformers' forensic understanding of justification ... the idea of an immediate divine imputation [of righteousness] renders superfluous the entire Catholic system of the priestly mediation of grace by the Church." (Bruce McCormack, What's at Stake in the Current Debates over Justification, from Husbands and Treier's Justification, pg 82.)

John Bugay said...

Scotju -- I think your comment is just wishful thinking. And unlike you, who are just making an assertion, I'll tell you why.

In the US today, it's true, that evangelicals are a bit fragmented. But there are several things that lead me to believe that, by 2050, it's the Catholic church that will have fallen apart (the EO already self-destructing).

Scholarship is converging around a couple of ideas. I've written here about that:

http://reformation500.wordpress.com/2010/02/19/a-positive-view-of-christian-foundations/

Things like the fact that as Gary Habermas wrote about in his work "The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus,” virtually 100% of scholars believe the first four are “so strongly evidenced historically that nearly every scholar regards them as reliable facts,” and the fifth is believed by more than 75% (pg 48).:

1. Jesus died by crucifixion

2. Jesus’s disciples believed he rose and appeared to them

3. The conversion of Paul (from persecutor of the church to leading Apostle).

4. The conversion of James, the brother of the Lord (originally a severe skeptic)

5. The empty tomb.

Even skeptics have come to accept this type of information. Or this:

http://blog.bible.org/primetimejesus/content/resurrection-probably-reported-same-year-it-happened

On the other hand, much more is being known about, and exposed about, the early papacy, as I've written extensively.

On top of all this, ideas have consequenses. So what's being studied among scholars now is going to filter down to the popular culture in not a very long period of time.

And on top of this, too, the human condition is always going to have people seeking for God, and finding Him.

I think if you put all of this together, you'll find that your own longing for a return of Catholicism IS wishful thinking.

John Bugay said...

BK, thanks for sharing that part of your life. I'm sure that very many people know exactly what you mean, in terms of wanting more of God's word, and cherishing the fellowship you had with other Christians.

John Bugay said...

Pastor Aaron: From my perspective, and his, so much is bound up in the ritual of the mass, it is hard to know what they teach or believe. When I talk to Catholic friends who do "get something" from it, it's because they have found an interpretive lens of scripture, theology and perhaps art appreciation, that allows them to follow along, a sort of explication de texte...

I think you are right about this. Berkouwer talked about this type of thing in his work "Conflict with Rome." It seems to revolve around the notion of "certainty." But that notion of an immovable edifice is certainly being undermined in our time, for a lot of reasons.

There is an effort in the RCC and EOx movements to "convert" Protestants, esp pastors. Invariably, it's about an institution, not Jesus.

There are all kinds of reasons why this type of thing won't work.

Viisaus said...

In some traditionally Romanist European countries, Catholicism is hardly in better shape than Protestantism is in Scandinavia:

http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2010/may/10052010.html

"Half of Catholic Religion Students in Spain Support Abortion: Study"

Edward Reiss said...

John Bugay,

" But there are several things that lead me to believe that, by 2050, it's the Catholic church that will have fallen apart (the EO already self-destructing)."

Could yo \u point me to sources or explain how the EOs are self destructing?

John Bugay said...

Edward, I can't believe I found this, but here's a Wall Street Journal article from December 18, 2007:

"Putin and Orthodox Church Cement Power in Russia"

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB119792074745834591.html?mod=hps_us_inside_today

Two-thirds of Russians now count themselves as Orthodox, roughly double the level when the Soviet Union fell apart in 1991. Opinion polls suggest most identify with the church out of nationalism. In a recent survey, only 4% said they look to Orthodoxy as a source of moral values.

If you can't access that (subscription may be required), here is where I first quoted it:

http://abettercountry.yuku.com/reply/83625/t/The-Russian-Orthodox-Church-today.html#reply-83625

Mr. Taratukhin's repentance reinforces what has become a pillar of Mr. Putin's Russia: an intimate alliance between the Orthodox Church and the Kremlin reminiscent of czarist days. Rigidly hierarchical, intolerant of dissent and wary of competition, both share a vision of Russia's future -- rooted in robust nationalism and at odds with Western-style liberal democracy.

What really struck me is that it is said that Orthodoxy is the second largest "Christian denomination," but the vast proportion of EOs in the world live in Russia; and meanwhile, that 4% number just seemed really bad for them.

Edward Reiss said...

John Bugay,

I read the article (no registration required). It is troublesome, but I don;t think it means EOdoxy is on its back.

FWIW, EOdoxy has been criticized in the past for Caesaropapism. Indeed, the Emperor was considered a protector of the faith, presided over councils etc. In some ways that was transferred to the Tsars. This article does seem like an example of that.

Viisaus said...

"I read the article (no registration required). It is troublesome, but I don;t think it means EOdoxy is on its back."

I also think that Bugay may be exaggerating EOdoxy's predicament, but it is true that the EO grip on the peoples of their old territories in Eastern Europe is more fragile than it seems ("mile wide and inch deep.")

Many folks there are mere "cultural EOs" in the same way so many secularized Jews profess "cultural Judaism" because of their tribal connections and sympathies.

John Bugay said...

I was responding, too, to scotju, who suggested that both Catholics and Orthodox would be swelling from all the Protestants who would be leaving for those parts. Maybe the Eastern fathers will offer a meaningful source of devotion for a few disaffected Protestants in the coming years. But folks will be leaving here for there based on nostalgia, not a genuine growth opportunity. I saw the WSJ article as portraying a great deal of evidence that there is no "there" there.

Viisaus said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Viisaus said...

Hardcore-traditionalist EOs are afraid (they are on almost apocalyptic mood, really) that mainstream EO churches are in process of being swallowed by ecumenical-liberal apostasy.

Starting with re-union with Rome that they abhor as much as any Orangeman would:

"One may wonder how these bishops would explain joint Uniate-'Orthodox' services and marriages like the one seen above to their flocks. Or, perhaps, the flock has already understood the meaning of the fact that from the mid-60's onward the Pope has been regarded as first primate of the Church and his name has been commemorated at every Liturgy in the Phanar? After all, that was all that was required of the first 'Orthodox' Uniates at the Union Council of Lyons in 1274. Such events, then, are nothing unexpected then, since it is just one Uniate serving with another, one Uniate marrying another. But if you want Orthodoxy, if you want salvation, you will not find it with bishops like these."

http://www.trueorthodoxy.org/heretics_world_orthodoxy_ep_bishops.shtml


Stories like this probably confirm their worst suspicions about "creeping Popery":

"THE ARCHBISHOP yesterday slammed religious groups who oppose the Pope’s visit in June, warning that they put themselves outside the Church."

http://www.cyprus-mail.com/cyprus/archbishop-says-anti-pope-attacks-outside-church/20100519

John said...

If there's any group whose future looks endangered, I would say it would have to be traditional Protestantism. Yes sure, there is a lot of growth in various parts of the world in what one might call basic Christianity, characterised by very little dogma. Christ died for our sins is about the deepest thing one might hear on a typical Sunday. Not that my aim is to denigrate these groups, but how is that a win for "Protestantism"? Its a win for minimalist Christianity, if that's what you want to promote, but Protestantism? How so?

Who has got any figures saying that traditional Presbyterians, Anglicans or Lutherans are picking up big numbers? Or is the message ABC christianity? (Anything But Catholicism) is good?

As for quotes from small but vocal groups of schismatic Greeks... [yawn].

John Bugay said...

John: If there's any group whose future looks endangered, I would say it would have to be traditional Protestantism.

I'll grant you that the mainline denominations have shot themselves in the foot by having latched on to some of the liberal theologies that are out there. That having been said, one can still see true and good growth in Christ throughout the Protestant world.

The thing that gives me the greatest hope is, in general, the advancement in Biblical scholarship. I've been trying to look at that sort of thing, to the best of my ability, and it really does seem to me that the old liberal theologies are passing away, and that seminaries from WSC to Dallas to Covenant to Southern Baptist to RTS are really emphasizing both original languages and hermeneutics that work to combine the best of Systematic Theology, Biblical Theology, and Literary theory, along with a healthy respect for the (small-t) tradition of the church. These efforts are going to bear wonderful fruit. This is not to mention what I've seen coming out of Aberdeen.

If you have the time, take a listen, for example, to Richard Pratt's "Introduction to Pastoral Theology" messages at iTunes.rts.edu. These talk about this confluence in the best possible light. Consider that this information is not only available at Seminaries, but is available now to folks like you and me.

We understand the Scriptures far better today than we ever have -- this includes the ANE background to the OT, and how it relates, all the way through to the New Testament and early church times (the process of collecting the writings and forming a canon. For example, several writers have studied the collection of Paul's letters, and there is good evidence to suggest that this process began during Paul's lifetime.

And further, we're learning more and more about the history of the early church. There are more sources of the writings of the fathers, and more people are studying them.

continued...

John Bugay said...

Yes sure, there is a lot of growth in various parts of the world in what one might call basic Christianity, characterised by very little dogma. Christ died for our sins is about the deepest thing one might hear on a typical Sunday. Not that my aim is to denigrate these groups, but how is that a win for "Protestantism"? Its a win for minimalist Christianity, if that's what you want to promote, but Protestantism? How so?

You have cited the tremendous growth in Christianity -- it is growing tremendously fast in the southern hemisphere. I can't speak to the content of that growth. You called it "Minimalist," in that "the deepest thing one might hear is that Christ died for our sins."

Consider what Paul said to the Corinthians: "And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, 4and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God."

You have to consider that this is a sufficient message. This growth is not going to get ahead of God's word. Pratt, whom I mentioned above (a professor at a mainline PCA seminary) also is part of a growing effort to use the Internet to spread good theology throughout the world. Take a look at this:

http://thirdmill.org/

I think this is a tremendous effort, and we'll only see more of this sort of thing in the coming years.

Who has got any figures saying that traditional Presbyterians, Anglicans or Lutherans are picking up big numbers? Or is the message ABC christianity? (Anything But Catholicism) is good?

WSC is trying to foster a movement to "Recover the Reformed Confessions." Have you read any of Scott Clark's work, for example?

http://heidelblog.wordpress.com/

I believe this is a tremendously helpful effort -- the idea is to bring to mind the development of the theologies following the Reformation. Keep in mind that it was one thing to understand the need to break from Rome (especially after Rome ossified its opposition to the Gospel at Trent); it was another to form a positive statement of what Biblical Christianity should be.

Ideas have consequences, and these are good and right ideas. But they're not just fermenting around in seminaries. There is a hunger for Christ in the world. God's hand is shaping these theologies and movements, and I believe that the use of the Internet will foster the spread of these good theologies and movements far faster than the printing press was able to influence the Reformation.

John Bugay said...

Who has got any figures saying that traditional Presbyterians, Anglicans or Lutherans are picking up big numbers? Or is the message ABC christianity? (Anything But Catholicism) is good?

You should not look backward, at the "traditional" denominations, except as they're giving form to the movements that I've described above. I'm sure we will see the influence of this sort of thing in the not-too-distant future.

As for "anything but Catholicism," I'd nuance that to say "anything but Roman Catholicism" I do believe there are things we can learn from studying the Greek fathers, but as Robert Reymond has said:

Rome’s exegesis of Matthew 16 and its historically developed claim to authoritative primacy in the Christian world simply cannot be demonstrated and sustained from Scripture itself. This claim is surely one of the great hoaxes foisted upon professing Christendom, upon which false base rests the whole papal sacerdotal system.

"Robert Reymond, “A New Systematic Theology of the Christian Faith,” pg 818.

It does seem to me though, that with recent historical studies of the early papacy, that that institution won't stand in its present form. Because of this research, it seems as if Pope Ratzinger has already started to give away the store, and I'm not the only one to have noticed this:

http://willingcatholicmartyr.blogspot.com/2010/04/ratzinger-denies-big-dogma.html

John said...

"That having been said, one can still see true and good growth in Christ throughout the Protestant world. "

Who are you claiming as "Protestant" in this context? Are you claiming the pentacostals, mega churches, charismatics and generic non-denominationals? If not being in communion with historical churches makes them protestant, then I guess so. But if being on Luther and Calvin's side in many of the disputes of the reformation is concerned, then the answer is a lot more ambiguous.

A little while back I went to an inter-denominational event, not because I'm in the habit of doing that, but because I was curious to hear "Brother Yun" speak, being as he is a best selling author, and someone who is probably representative of a lot of stuff going on in China. It was also a chance to see what goes on in worship in some of the largest local churches, as well as insight into what a central figure in the underground Chinese church thinks is normal.

After seeing about 8 hours of worship, prayers and preaching over three days, doctrinally I didn't hear much that any Catholic or Orthodox could take much issue with. I did hear things that would make Calvinists squirm in discomfort. I saw flags with images of lions (presumably a reference to Rev. 5:5) and seemingly also an image of Christ. Perhaps primitive forms of iconography? I saw a lot of people worshipping with outstretched hands, which I see as the moral equivalent crossing oneself. I saw a lot of people praying over people by laying on hands, which seems like a kind of primitive sacramentalism. The focus on and veneration of the leadership during the proceedings is far beyond anything Orthodox have had with a priesthood.

My question is what happens when these movements mature over time? When they are forced to take positions on issues they have previously ignored, are they going to be more on your side or ours? Will they be able to get out of bed every day as Beckwith put it, for years on end if they decide their differences with traditional Christianity aren't as major as they thought? These seem to be open questions. Yes, they are not with us. But are you sure you want to claim them as with you?

John Bugay said...

John: Who are you claiming as "Protestant" in this context? Are you claiming the pentacostals, mega churches, charismatics and generic non-denominationals? If not being in communion with historical churches makes them protestant, then I guess so. But if being on Luther and Calvin's side in many of the disputes of the reformation is concerned, then the answer is a lot more ambiguous.

Let's just say that I think there's a tremendous opportunity to have a "teaching moment" for all these folks, with the 500th anniversary of the Reformation coming up.